History has not been the side on the Brewers Opening Day Starter for the past five years. Let’s have a look:
2019: Jhoulys Chacin (3-12, 6.01 ERA in 19 starts, DFA’d by Milwaukee and finished the 2019 campaign in Boston)
2018: Chase Anderson (9-8, 3.93 ERA in 30 starts, gave up 30 HRs over the season)
2017: Junior Guerra (1-4, 5.12 ERA in 14 starts, strained right calf after 3 IP on Opening Day)
2016: Wily Peralta (7-11, 4.86 ERA in 23 starts, battled inconsistencies and injuries)
2015: Kyle Lohse (5-13, 5.85 ERA in 22 starts, demoted to the bullpen)
So far, all of the stars align up to Brandon Woodruff likely being named the Opening Day starter by Manager Craig Counsell. Counsell normally keeps his voice quiet when it comes to that notion, but it should be known that when the Brewers face off against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park on March 26th, they do have an off day on Thursday before resuming the series on Friday. It’s not a bad idea. So, with that being said, and with most Brewers social media and beat writers suggesting the idea, would it be a wild and crazy idea to believe that the Brewers could roll out their long relievers and make Opening Day a “Bullpen Game” against their rivals to the South? One can only dream.
“Look, I’m not trying to keep a secret here,” Craig Counsell said. “Things happen. If something happens that makes us consider alternative scenarios, the fact is we do have a day to play with. That’s part of how we have operated and how we have to operate. It’s one reason that you keep it in the bag for a while.
If you look at Milwaukee’s roster up and down for pitchers, they possess a unique set of options that most teams would love to have – relievers who have had starting experience and could get some outs right and out of the gate – not to mention the idea that it could throw off the Cubs batting order from the first pitch of the game (see guys like Corbin Burnes, Brent Suter, even Freddy Peralta). Bear in mind – should an idea of this fail – and it almost always comes to risking it – the Brewers could be short-handed in their pen by Sunday – when the series concludes and the St. Louis Cardinals roll into the town.
In an effort to stick it to Commissioner Rob Manfred – imagine if the Brewers stuck Eric Yardley or Alex Claudio out there on the mound for the first inning following the institution of a three-batter minimum for 2020 – the change will likely cause a decline in the number of our-LOOGY specialists (lefty-one out guys) who are mostly brought in based on history or certain at-bats. -WGL